Stupid Black Girl Book Review
Author: Aisha Redux
Art: Brianna McCarthy
Publisher: Street Noise Books
Looking for a good, summer read? Check out Stupid Black Girl by Aisha Redux
I’m the type of reader that enjoys reading literature cover to cover. I love to study the cover’s artwork and typography. I also enjoy reading introductions to books. I know some people skip them, but for me, they set the tone of the book. If it’s a personal introduction by the author, it gives you a look into their frame of mind while writing the book, and can offer a frame by which to consume their story.
With that being said, Stupid Black Girl is a book where you’ll want to leave no page unturned.
Stupid Black Girl is a collection of personal essays examining the ‘crooked room’ experience lived by Aisha Redux. This collection of essays is split into three sections: Spirituality, Sexuality and My Black Experience. As aforementioned, the first section explores her relationship with spirituality; her struggle to reconcile the beautiful messages of Islam with the cruel patriarchal version many in her community practiced. She questions the disconnect between traditional cultural understandings of mental health and the western world’s clinical mental health approach. Her delving into the way her culture shaped her understanding of mental health resonated strongly with me- so many resources regarding mental health in the West fail to incorporate these elements, and thus fail to fully understand and heal our conditions.
In Sexuality, she discusses the cultural expectations and resulting limitations of how women interact with men, and how she fought against those systems. She also brings up the dichotomy between the censorship of sexual information and the lived realities of women who quietly rebuked those rigid standards to explore.
In My Black Experience, she dissects how her status as an ‘American African’-a first generation American born to African immigrant parents- shapes the way she views race relations in America. She discusses the social status distancing Africans impress on Black Americans, and the strange placement she felt she held in society as a child from both worlds. As a first generation Haitian American, it felt as if I was reading a page out of my own journal at times.
Of course, this review wouldn’t be complete without discussing the artwork incorporated in this book. The visuals drawn by Brianna McCarthy help set the tone of each essay. To see genuine artwork of black people juxtaposed with genuine written observations of black life make for a very wholesome, enveloping read. Holding each image in my mind as I read its corresponding essay fed my thoughts about each passage, and helped me frame my feelings about similar experiences I shared.
Stupid Black Girl is an immersive read, and an affirmation for the 1st generation Black American experience. Each essay is thoughtfully and empathetically written. In the midst of this pandemic and growing racial discord, this book unexpectedly served as a form of therapy. I felt seen and understood, and even inspired to explore my thoughts on certain subjects more in depth. This is a lovely and worthwhile read.
You can buy Stupid Black Girl: Essays from An American African from Amazon.